Lately at littleBits HQ, we’ve been hearing from kids who are making big a impression at their Science Fair with littleBits inventions! If YOU used littleBits at a Science Fair, upload your invention then drop us an email at [email protected] . In addition to pictures and a video, tell us what inspired you, how the circuit works, and the results of your tests. Now, let’s get the low down from some scientifically minded Bitsters! 🙂
4th grader, Santa Clara, CA
Calm your dog with Pawmer #HackYourHabits
If this was a product on the market, who would be your intended customer, and why would they want to buy your invention?
“Every new pet owner will understand the program of training a puppy at home and having a good schedule for their sleep. Leo came to us when he was 8 weeks old in August of last year. As first time pet owners, we had lot of issues trying to adjust. Especially our parents who had to wake up in the middle of the night etc. I knew there was a problem. If there were a pet calmer product like this in the market , any pet owner could use it. This is a stand alone product, which means you just switch it on and let it run the whole night (especially helpful to train a puppy to sleep). LittleBits is a DIY kit and is helpful to make something like this, especially if someone has a kit at home and they can try or just take what I did and enhance it.”
How does it work?
“I am using the sound trigger to connect the mp3 player with a dog calming music on the SD card. When you switch on the device the first sound created triggers the mp3 player and the music starts playing in a loop. Any new sound will stop the music from playing and then again when there is no sound detected then it will continue playing. You can see how Leo is reacting to the music and when the sound stops he opens his eyes and when it starts playing he closes his eyes again 🙂 “
“The cloud bit is used to trigger emails or SMS as an experiment, because if Leo is really anxious and we are not at home , a number of emails or texts come to my phone. Then we know he is crying or making a lot of noise and the music is not working on him.”
How do you prevent littleBits from becoming Leo’s chew toy while you are away?
“Yes, this is funny. When I was trying it for the first time, he got excited with the LED’s and used his paw to stamp on it. But now he knows that his favorite music plays from there. But it’s a good thing to cover the whole unit in a box. We have a 3D printer at home due to my brother’s work and can easily make a enclosure. That will prevent him from destroying it. Also since I connected a 9V battery the whole thing can be placed in a box.”
What were your teachers’ reactions to your science fair submission?
“My class teacher is Ms. Ryland. She was very happy with what I created and also happy that I got the first prize. Because my brother Shubham Banerjee also did his elementary from the same school, some other teachers came over and said it’s great I am following my brother’s footsteps. My brother helped me to set up the cloud bit since I didn’t know what to do and also initially played with me with the new littleBits kit.”
Who or what else inspired you?
“For my science fair I wanted to use littleBits as suggested to me by my brother (he is in 9th grade and the inventor of Braigo). He connected me to Krystal Persaud since both of them met at the first ever White House Maker Faire in 2014…. The #BuildforGood or #MakeforGood is a concept that has been with the family for a long time. Our parents always encouraged us to do something different which can be helpful in day to day lives and also help us learn by doing.
In the early part of this year, I completed the Samsung sponsored emPower program at my school – Don Callejon School, where they taught us about female engineers and also the basics of coding and computer science in general. That was really inspiring.”
Any advice for other students who are working on their Science Fair projects?
“I think rather than working on same type of projects like – difference between coke and pepsi 🙂 or all the common ones. Maybe getting associated with DIY kits and learning from the online community helps. For example, I searched the littleBits site for “how to use sound” and also “how to use mp3”. I also searched on YouTube – there are so many projects done and people share their inventions. Look out for role models who are also kids and read on what they have done. For me my brother is a role model and I am learning a lot from him. Sharing ideas with teachers in school and asking feedback is also important. Everybody is there to help you. We just need to ask.”
8th grader, Atlantic Beach, NC
infrared car detector #InventForGood
What problem does this invention solve?
Jake saw a need to improve safety for himself and friends in his neighborhood. “My driveway goes off just into the blind corner, and there are constantly cars speeding through. And we’ve almost been hit and gotten into a car wreck several times. Thankfully nothing bad has happened yet.”
How does it work?
“I used littleBits to tell me when a car is coming… My project uses the wireless transmitter and receiver bits, the motion trigger bit, an LED bit, and two power bits. When a car passes the motion sensor, it transmits a signal to the LED and turns it on.” In tests, Jake and his Mom put the detector and the receiver circuits 166 feet apart, and the circuits successfully detected every passing car!
How did the Science Fair go?
Jake won his regional Science Fair with this #InventForGood entry, and went on to the North Carolina State Science and Engineering Fair in Raleigh. “I won first place in my category, optics and phonetics special award for SPIE, and I am in the running to go to Washington DC for the Broadcom MASTERS science fair.”
His teachers suggested that he teach them all about littleBits. 🙂 For now Jake would like to thank some people: “Thanks to my Mom for helping me test my idea. LittleBits For such a wonderfully awesome and amazing product. Dr. Patrick Curly For buying my science fair supplies.”
6th grader, Milford, OH
What problem does this invention solve?
Each year 1.5 million cats are euthanized. Max invented SocialCat to help reduce that number. Says Max, “One of the main reasons is cats are not properly socialized, or used to humans. That’s a problem, because they can’t be adopted… I thought I could combine the pleasant experience of eating with the human voice. I spoke with the director of Ohio Alleycat Resource, Devon Smith, and she said that my invention is scientifically sound and she knew of no other inventions (like it). I searched Google, Amazon, PetSmart, and I found no other inventions like this. So I got to work, and I knew I could do it with littleBits.”
How does it work?
The littleBits circuit Max built consists of a power, motion trigger, timeout, wire, timeout, and speaker. He used a mounting board and Velcro to attach the whole gadget to a gravity feeder. Now when a cat approaches SocialCat, the motion trigger activates the mp3 player bit, which plays human voices and soft classical music.
Max and his dad, Dolf, would like to give a shout out to Devon Smith for lending her professional opinion and to Alex Pikkert and other Bitsters on the forum who helped with troubleshooting. Max learned how to focus the detective area of motion trigger and how to use the timeout bit to improve timing between the motion trigger and mp3 player bits.
Penny Controlled Car
“My first LittleBits project that I had used in a school project would be when I was in 4th grade when we had to make a state float. My state was Pennsylvania and I wanted to make the liberty bell spin. Then I remembered the littleBits modules and I was able to make the liberty bell spin using a power, dc motor, cable, and battery. It was a huge success, everyone loved it and many were left clueless on how it works. Of course, I explained how it works.
The second project was this year in November. (Note that is one year after the state float). The teacher had asked us to build a building and to have at least three boxes with its volume. I was excited because I love math and I am really smart in it (no joke ask my friends). When I was thinking of ideas for this project, my mom came up with the idea of making a windmill that spins. It did not just spin it had two things: a sound sensor that detects wind and a flashing light and buzzer that indicated when the windmill had shut down.
My third and final project was also made this year in the Science Fair. It was an orange controlled car. I got the idea when I was playing around with the Makey-Makey module. At first I didn’t know if I was to put it in the Science Fair but when I showed it to the class everyone loved it and I put it in the Science Fair. If you remember in the Show and Tell there was a poster behind me? Well that was the poster, my friend and I did for my project. The project was a success and we got three papers full of positive comments. This project was also posted on YouTube but it was a penny-controlled car.”